Dou hua (‘flower’ tofu)

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Dou hua is soft, warm tofu covered with toppings that add crunch and flavour. A dou hua vendor usually carries a pole across his or her shoulders with two large baskets attached. One of the baskets contains steaming soft tofu and the other contains the bowls and fixings.

For a while I had avoided dou hua due to a mouth numbing, terrible version I’d bought on Dian Nao Cheng (Computer Street.) One my way home the other day, though, I noticed one lady untraditionally carrying dou hua baskets on her bike and paying obvious attention to both the order and appearance of the condiments. First, she spooned up the tofu and added some ground Sichuan pepper. Then, a sprinkle of msg. Then a tablespoon or so of soy sauce, then chili oil, then chopped preserved vegetable, then crunchy dried soybeans, and last of all chopped green onion. We customers accepted the bowl, then stirred everything up and ate. She was only charging one yuan (15 cents) per order, when some vendors charge one and a half.


Gabriel said...

I just have to mention, that aside from being one of my favorite foody blogs, and the only one I check regularly, the photos you take of your meals are absolutely top-class. Now please come back to America so I can actually try some of the recipes you post! (Loving grits for breakfast though, thanks for that one.)

pepper said...

Hey Gabriel, thanks for your comments. Re the cooking, this is something I thought a lot about - I know the recipes are less accessible than they used to be but I am not willing to spend the $$$ it would take to eat a western diet here while missing the chance to learn about a fabulous new cuisine, which I find very inspiring and want to write about.

But even in Canada people always said 'I've never heard of that! Write about something we know!'. Stay tuned for some more familiar things this week.

Dr. Ricky said...

I am so accustomed to Dou Hua as a sweet item, warm and comforting on a cold day (actually, not bad chilled either with a caramel sauce). I should try this, it's like a slightly different version of ma po dou fu.

Pepper said...

I am going to look for the cold version; I think it would be very refreshing. Used to love tofu pudding that we got at the Chinese grocery store back home (and which I have not seen here, for some reason).